Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Deliciousness of Dirt

Sometimes I can almost feel the calcification of my bones in the cold. It seeps into my tendons and muscles, permeating tissues...they petrify.

And then one morning, shuffling to the car...a pause. What--a breeze? Not the acrid scrape of winter's breath, but something warm, soft...sweet. Time lapse photography would document the melting of snow, the green mist that crept across the yard...and perhaps the daily lightening of my steps. Secret smiles beneath the curtain of my hair as careful fingers plucked blackened leaves from tiny nubs, tulips and daffodils gasping for air. The brittle smack of tape and plastic peeled from the ancient 15 paned window in the dining room; the hand crank turns and glass glides and creamy sheer curtains billow into the room....sweet spring.

My knees are sore...the left one stained from the tear in my jeans. The sun was irresistible--and the light glow on my shoulder blades testifies to my careless abandonment of the sweater I ventured out in. Spaghetti tank straps have left ivory shadows behind. Ahhhh...the seduction. Dark and loamy, vital...the smell of soil. Alive. Plunging my hands deep into the bed, breaking clumps, churning the earth, burgeoning with the promise of basil and rosemary....fresh tomatoes, cucumber salad with prawns and dill.

Kneading the dirt, I wonder at the miracle that takes the dead, the digested...the waste of our lives and with heat and light and time...creates the perfect medium for new growth. Last year's mistakes, miscalculations....become life.
.
How often we miss this. Frantically I have tried to rearrange, reorder...rethink. Perhaps I have lost the marvel that is the garden. Renewal. Rebirth.
.
My fingers seek out bits of tangled roots, the weeds of last season desperately clinging to the hope of invisibility. Have I let the weeds in my mind take root? The smallest of seeds can grab hold...invade. Do we evaluate our lives with the care that Home Depot assumes we take with our lawns? What do we cultivate...what do we thin. Our work, our homes....schedules, family, commitments. Do we plant the extravagant as well as the healthy? Mint and lavender and plums...


Every garden is temporary. Each has a season. Casual hands bear spindly fruits. It's the careful heart, the attentive soul, the calloused palm...that reaps succulent bounty.

26 comments:

Debbie(single;complicated) said...

wow...loved this...IT made me yean to take a gardening! its actually ALWAYS appealed to me..you put into words WHY!!

Irish Gumbo said...

The wheel turns,as does the soil...and soon, my garden will be planted.

Lovely, lovely...

Lola Sharp said...

Oh that last sentence!

Love this post, sweet friend. All deep and stuff.

steelxmagnolia said...

Your post inspires me to get out into my winter strewn beds. To prepare for summer's gardens and commune with the dark, damp yet unweeded earth. Cheers!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

"Do we evaluate our lives with the care that Home Depot assumes we take with our lawns? What do we cultivate...what do we thin. Our work, our homes....schedules, family, commitments. Do we plant the extravagant as well as the healthy? Mint and lavender and plums..."

I LOVE this. I was liking all the garden images, and happily the garden's getting an early start this year. But the switch to our minds and lives was nicely done....I'm in the mood for some pruning.

Mobius said...

liked this alot...

ah.. spring.

Danielle said...

You are so talented. In your writing and painting there is so much beauty!

Chantel said...

Debbie--gardens are so therapeutic, aren't they?

Irish--I can only imagine what you might plant...

Lola--isn't nature amazing?

Magnolia--why do I find weeding so pleasurable? lol

Bliss--pruning the vine, while painful, can produce the most lucious grapes...and the wine is splendid!

Mobius--inhale...there is nothing like spring.

Danielle--thank you, am thinking of selling Vulnerable...?

Shrinky said...

Ah, such poetry in your prose, I drank in every well-crafted line! And I loved the sentiment conveyed.. yes, it's not only our garden we should weed and til, sometimes it's the most vital of tasks we choose to ignore! Simply beautiful, Chantel.

Laffylady said...

I love the scent of the dirt..and the memories I have of being a child, sitting in the dirt...and the feel of the spring coming and playing kickball in the dirt..but I am not a very good gardener..I dont know why or what is the reason..but I may rethink that after this post ..besides, I watched Food Inc and have a desire to grow some of my own veggies..!!

Santa's Gift Shoppe and Ideas said...

Hi..I’m Barb from Fri. Follow. I am your newest follower. I hope you will get a chance to visit my blog @ santasgiftshoppe.blogspot.com
& get inspired by something for your family/home. I hope you will follow me as well.

Simply Suthern said...

Loved this. I was in my chair resting from tilling and planting the garden today when I found your post. I will wake up a bit stiff in the morn but it is a different ache when you know you will enjoy the bounty of your own toils.

JulieChats said...

Great post! You really captured that first time back out in the garden that we experience every year! I'm itching to get out there, but alas, I'm in Oregon and the sticky clay soil is still much too wet to work with. Another few weeks & it will be ready!

Stopping by late from Ann's VGNO! Come over & check out my latest creation, a mini album from local Portland area company Punky Sprouts. I'm very excited to share them with all the papercrafters out there & I'm sure even those who aren't will enjoy checking it out.
http://juliechats.blogspot.com

Aging Mommy said...

It has taken an awfully long time to arrive, but spring is finally here and the one good thing about such a long, cold wet winter is that everything is growing in abundance. I just posted today about making the most of the nature around us so totally love your post.

Stopping by belatedly from VGNO!

Our Country Road said...

I found you through the UBP. I loved this post! We are starting our first garden this year. Thank you for taking the time to remind me of the garden I grow in my life each day. Blessings!

ourcountryroad.blogspot.com

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

The weeds in my mind... Yeesh! How did you know they were there? I think I have some gardening to do. And I'm not talking about my yard.

Love this post... You always make me think Chantel. I guess I'm always cleaning out my garden when I'm here!

Annette said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog as you visited blog land. I'm so glad you did, because then I found yours. Thank you for your beautiful writing that inspires me.

Chantel said...

Shrinky--weeding does much for the soul, if not the back. (chuckle)

LaffLady--there is something truly amazing about devouring what your hands have tended... start small; most herbs like dry soil and sun...and fresh rosemary in your roasted chicken? Mmmmm....

Santa I will indeed stop in!

Suthern--isn't the ache in our muscles a vaguely pleasant reminder of a day well-spent?

Julie--oh blessed are those with mountains! lol A Colorado girl here, now in Pgh...but warmth is coming your way--happy gardening!

Aging Mommy--Spring does seem to drag its feet every year...Winter's desperate clutch...but oh, such reward!

Country Road--I think I miss living down a long dirt lane...*sigh* Blessings to you and your garden!

Darling Leslie--everyone has weeds; those that attend them, have glowing lives. Weeds ignored damn near take over!

Annette--such a lovely name! Yours was a gem as well! Life and family and gardens...

Mom et al said...

My new friend, that was an amazing and beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

A Christmas gift of a bamboo is probably frantically trying to post a "save me" sign and send it to you. My father is a gardener...corn and peppers and, of course, zucchini, that ever present squash. (Thank heavens I use it in my albondigas soup.) I love trailing behind him as he explains what each plant is and laughs at my jerks and jumps at all the bugs. He even put a broken "Toastmaster" trophy in his garden. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a scarecrow or a lucky talisman! Beautiful post.

Tgoette said...

I love my garden and consider its maintenance almost a religious experience. Which is why I relate so well to your metaphor of the garden for life. Very beautifully done, as usual!

Jennifer Sikora said...

You have a great gift of putting words together on paper!

Loved reading your stuff.

Stop by and visit me from the UBP: www.jennifersikora.com

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I love this - now I'm anxious for the rain to stop so I can get out and get my hands dirty in the garden! :)

Chantel said...

Maria--thank you, I think you and I are peas in a pod in many ways!

Happy Hour--love the idea of the Toastmaster scarecrow! lol

Tom--gardens give us time to think...and there is such joy in those little seedlings as they grow!

Jennifer--thank you, and I'll stop by.

Stacy--it's raining here today too...but tomorrow the sun is coming!

Jessica said...

I love your writing.
No, I relish your writing. It's that organic tomato still smelling of soil and sun, drizzled in balsamic and tickled with fresh, salty mozzarella; literary food for my soul.
Don't ever stop.
EVER.
In fact, write a book, and I'll serve it for dinner; outside, under a tree, on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Chantel said...

Jessica--I think, perhaps this is one of the absolute best comments/compliments I have ever received. Made me all tingly and happy...